If your start-up made it, you're in. That's a misconception held by many people. It would now just be a matter of scaling up before the millions pour in.
Unfortunately, that's not the case. Growing your business comes with a host of challenges that you haven't faced in the start-up phase. In this article, we list 10 challenges for you that you will almost certainly run into if you want to grow your business. We also give you tips on how to overcome these challenges.
10 challenges you face as your business grows
As an entrepreneur with a growing business, of course you know that challenges are there to be overcome. Otherwise, you would never have gotten to where you are already. But growing your business creates very different challenges than you've experienced so far.
Challenge 1: lack of financial resources
Growing a business is almost impossible without investing. But in order to invest, you need money, and sometimes that is quite difficult. Your start-up is probably not yet profitable enough to make all the necessary investments.
Many companies choose to look for outside funding. With such a financial boost, you can often make very big strides in growing your business. Be well informed, though, so that you don't give away too much of your business in exchange for an investment.
Challenge 2: Growing the business is no longer the focus
As you've grown the business, chances are you've spent more and more time on day-to-day operations. You have many roles within your business, causing you to lose focus and not have enough time to plan for your growth.
Prioritize making your growth plans and schedule set times to reflect on them. If you don't, it will be very difficult to grow your business in the direction you envision. Write out life goals, annual goals, monthly goals and weekly goals. That way you can see every day if you are still moving in the right direction.
Challenge 3: finding suitable personnel
If you want to grow your business, you can't do it alone. So you need staff. It's a process that takes a lot of time and energy, and the outcome of which is hard to determine. You read resumes and cover letters and conduct interviews to find the best candidates. And then it's left to hope they want to work for you.
Determine in advance as accurately as possible what you expect from your staff and communicate that as clearly as possible. The more vague your vacancy, the greater the chance that you will not get the right candidates. Pay close attention to the competencies, skills and experience someone should have and don't stare blindly at resumes. Also ask them what it will take to keep them with you for a long time and see if you can deliver. After all, you are looking for motivated, competent employees who want to fulfill growth ambitions.
Challenge 4: not knowing how to grow
You are reading this article because you are running into the limits of your growth. In the current structure, you are not succeeding in taking the next step. This is a challenge that almost every entrepreneur runs into sooner or later, precisely because there are many paths that lead to Rome. What are the ways to grow further and which path is most suitable for you?
There are many ways to get help in growing your business. For example, you can get advice online, or attract people who have dealt with this before. But another big problem is that entrepreneurs are poor at delegating. This leaves you no time to figure out how to grow further. Consider whether you can shed tasks so that you can free up time to work on growing your business.
Challenge 5: You forget your network
No doubt you have already built a nice network. Many entrepreneurs just forget to take advantage of that network. Gathering input from your network on how to grow your business is very valuable.
Before asking for favors, it is smart to hand them out. Therefore, regularly invest in your network by sharing valuable knowledge and helping others. After all, you can't take money out of the bank either if you haven't deposited something in it first.
Challenge 6: innovating doesn't work (anymore)
As your company grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain innovative. A larger company often creates more bureaucracy. This can cause your organization to be less flexible and innovative than before.
Embed innovation in your company. By ensuring from the beginning that your employees are given the space to innovate, it becomes part of your company's DNA. Encourage collaboration, be open to failure and keep learning.
Challenge 7: "It's okay, like this."
The right mindset is vital if you want to grow your business. Those who are satisfied with stable sales never dare to take the risks necessary for growth. Those who think too small miss the very unique opportunities to take the next step.
Make sure it is crystal clear to you what you want with your business and why you want it. Of course, there is no obligation to grow, but if you want to, you must have the courage to act on it.
Challenge 8: not coloring inside the lines
All kinds of sectors are teeming with entrepreneurs. Yet the risk is that you will stick too rigidly to your own sector and therefore miss out on interesting solutions to your problems.
Simple: dare to walk outside the box. You got this far by being innovative and taking risks, keep doing that. Look beyond the boundaries of your own industry to see how other entrepreneurs have grown their businesses.
Challenge 9: No grip on your finances
The bigger your business, the more money goes into it. And the harder it becomes to keep a grip on your finances. The problems also increase exponentially: not being able to pay yourself a salary once is one thing. But as soon as you can't pay your staff, you really have a problem.
Make sure you keep a grip on your finances and always know where you stand. A good accountant is half the battle in this regard. A professional who can help you keep your money flowing in the right direction is practically indispensable. Still want to keep doing it yourself? Then make sure you always keep up with sending your invoices, make a budget, look critically at your expenses and make sure you know how to do accounting. But in the context of delegating tasks, such an accountant is a good step.
Challenge 10: You lose your product/market fit
You got this far because you sell a product or service that solves a problem people have. That, very simply put, is your product/market fit. But once your business grows, maintaining that "fit" is a challenge. Maybe it's because your target market has different requirements or competition has increased.
Be aware that you can lose a product/market fit. It's all too tempting to think that once you've found it, you're locked in. Keep listening to your customer and adjust your product or service if necessary. And above all, keep moving.
Bonus tip: Growing pains? Don't despair!
If growing your business were easy, everyone would do it and be able to do it. You figured that out when you started in business, but it's important not to forget that growing pains will always come with it. It's natural that sometimes you doubt yourself and want to give up, but successful entrepreneurs don't let up.
For those who persevere and know that growing comes with trial and error, there are great opportunities ahead. As long as it is clear to you where and for whom you are doing it, no challenge will be too powerful for you. Keep working toward your goals and realize that you are not the first to struggle from time to time. And seek help where you can!
How do I grow my business with funding?
External funders play an important role in growing businesses. Want to know what to do to get investors? Then download our white paper!
In this white paper:
- What challenges do you face and how do you deal with them?
- Becoming investor ready in four steps!
- An overview of all funding options
Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.